In Defense of Animals is calling out the University of Memphis for using a live tiger as their mascot. The Tennessee university has used a live tiger at each football game for 40 years, a practice the animal rights group said it should stop.

In a petition to the university president, In Defense of Animals says that keeping a tiger caged is both stressful to the animal and costly to the university. The cost of maintaining a tiger is extraordinary, with $700,000 being spent to build a tiger enclosure. The tigers, each named TOM (Tigers of Memphis) deserve better treatment than this.

Source: uofmemphisvideos/Youtube

In a statement release, In Defense of Animals President Marilyn Kroplick M.D., states “Why cause undue stress and suffering to TOM III when The University of Memphis has a perfectly capable human mascot Pouncer? President Rudd, this is your golden opportunity to launch an educational and ecologically sound campaign to keep wild animals in the wild. Please announce your decision to end the use of live animal mascots, and bring Pouncer to future games while leaving TOM III at home.”

“Big cats” that are privately owned, like those previously owned by universities or used as props are in danger across the United States. According to Animal Welfare Institute, “Unscrupulous facilities profit from cub petting or photo opportunities, which fuels a rampant and vicious cycle of breeding and dumping cubs once they are 12 weeks old. Having outgrown their usefulness, these cubs are funneled into the exotic pet trade, sold to another disreputable exhibitor, or end up in the black market trade for wildlife parts.”

You can sign the petition and learn how to take action against live tigers as mascots at the university here.

Sign this petition to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act!

Read more content about big cats:

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University of Memphis Please Stop Using a Live Tiger as Your Mascot!

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